BHP Billiton owns 57.5 per cent of, and operates, the Escondida mine which is a leading producer of copper. Escondida, located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, is a copper porphyry deposit that also produces gold and silver. Its two open-cut pits currently feed two concentrator plants which use grinding and flotation technologies to produce copper concentrate, as well as two leaching operations (oxide and sulphide).
Escondida celebrated 25 years of operation during FY2016, having processed more than two billion tonnes of ore through leaching (solvent extraction and electrowinning) and flotation.
Pampa Norte (Chile)
Pampa Norte consists of two wholly owned operations in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile – Spence and Cerro Colorado. During FY2016, Spence and Cerro Colorado produced 174 kt and 77 kt, respectively, of high-quality copper cathode, using oxide and sulphide ore treatment through leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning processes.
BHP Billiton owns 33.75 per cent of Antamina, a large, low-cost copper and zinc mine in north central Peru. Our share of Antamina’s total production for FY2016 was 146 kt of copper concentrate and 55 kt of zinc concentrate. Antamina by-products include molybdenum and lead/bismuth concentrate and small amounts of silver.